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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Missouri]
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The Best Reforms for the Grievance Process

In Missouri, our complaints are easily silenced; the caseworker simply throws the grievance form in the trash. A prisoner has no way to prove the form was ever even submitted. This tactic is especially prevalent in segregation units.

I wonder what state has the best grievance system. I certainly hope it isn't Missouri, because ours is too easily sabotaged. I do not have any experience with other states' procedures, but I did see a grievance form for Arizona's procedure belonging to a prisoner in Missouri on interstate compact. It looked better than Missouri's, mainly because the prisoner keeps a copy.

Will comparing states grievance procedures in a court case be effective in bringing about change? I am willing to entertain the possibility, but how will we know what state has the best procedure? The Prisoners' Legal Clinic will need to form a team of comrades from the various states to discuss the differences and their experiences.


MIM(Prisons) Legal Coordinator adds: We don't rely on the Amerikkkan court system for our ultimate liberation, but while we're stuck here in the belly of the beast we try to use the courts to our advantage in our revolutionary organizing. A long-term project of United Struggle from Within and the Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC) is the campaign to ensure our grievances are addressed. Our subscribers have been submitting petitions to prison administrators, prisoner advocacy groups, and the Federal government in several states, some for years. These petitions notify the prisoncrats of all the corrupt ways grievances are being mishandled and misused on the ground.

In some states, we've had success with our grievance petitions. Other states have come down with more creativity with their repression. In those states that don't respond to the petitions, a lawsuit will likely be necessary to push this struggle further.

This author discusses the tactic of comparing grievance procedures to see which states have more reliable remedies for administrative relief, and using this information in a lawsuit to push your own state to adopt these tactics.

It is vital to keep a copy of the grievance in any case and in any system. If the system does not allow the you to keep a receipt or copy of the grievance, then it is much more difficult to track a grievance and prove that it was submitted. This of course makes it much easier for the grievance to end up in the trash.

As we're looking forward to the development of the campaign to have our grievances addressed in several states, we can start discussing legal tactics to use in a lawsuit. Besides ensuring that a prisoner is able to keep proof that a grievance was submitted, what other procedural reforms would improve the grievance process?

Of course procedural safeguards won't always prevent the grievance from being "lost," or keep it from being used as an excuse to harrass the persyn filing the complaint. But the more protections we can build into the grievance processes, the better we can protect ourselves from abuses — abuses of the grievance process, and in prison generally.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Civil Liberties] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Arizona]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Arizona

Arizona Petition
Click to Download PDF of Arizona Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below, which are also on the petition itself. Supporters should send letters of support on behalf of prisoners.

Warden
(specific to your facility)

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

ADC Office of Inspector General
Mail Code 930
801 South 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Senator John McCain
4703 S. Lakeshore Drive, Suite 1
Tempe, AZ 80282

Representative Raul Grijalva
810 E. 22nd Street, Suite 102
Tucson, AZ 85713

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*Petition updated January 2012, July 2012, December 2014, October 2017, and April 2019*

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[Campaigns] [ULK Issue 41]
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Summing up September 9 Protests

Attica September 9
For the past three years, on September 9 prisoners across the country have joined in a solidarity demonstration on this anniversary of the Attica uprising. It was initiated by an organization that was a part of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. That organization is no longer around, but new organizations and individuals have carried forward the struggle.

The organizers call on activists to take this day to promote the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) by building unity with fellow captives, and to demonstrate resistance to the criminal injustice system by fasting, refraining from work, engaging only in solidarity actions, and ceasing all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities. In some prisons the demonstrations are big and involve many participants, in others just a handful of people join in, and in some places only one persyn stands up. But every action, large or small, contributes to raising awareness and building unity.

This year we received only a handful of reports from comrades about their September 9 organizing work. This is in contrast to the reports from the past two years which showed a growing interest and involvement in this day of protest. It is also in striking contrast to the widespread response and organizing around the Palestine petition by United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades.

We take this opportunity to re-evaluate the September 9 action. The question for all UFPP signatories and USW organizers: Why was organizing for the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity so limited in 2014? Should we do something different in 2015, either to help promote the September 9 action, or by focusing on other campaigns and protests? Send us your thoughts so we can sum up and continue to expand our efforts to cease prisoner-on-prisoner violence in the U.$. criminal injustice system.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 42]
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Right to Assist Others with Legal Work

The Injustice System
To the comrade who wrote the article titled "South Carolina Stops Grievance Challenge Process" in ULK 33, I would like to commend you and provide ammo. You say the pigs move you around to different segregated dorms when they find out you are assisting other prisoners with their legal work. The clearly established right to assist others with legal work has been in place for over three decades in Corpus v. Estelle 551 F2d 68 (5th Cir 1977). Even though South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, case law from the 5th Circuit can still be cited as a persuasive authority.

As for the problem of unprocessing your grievances, take a look at your prison's policies and see if they make reference to an offender grievance manual. They might have criteria for making a grievance unprocessed. Check and see if there is information on access to courts and if the manual has criteria with words such as what that administration "must," "will," or "shall" do before unprocessing the grievance. This is how you determine a "liberty interest," if the policy mandates any constitutional process due under the 4th or 14th Amendments.

Also look at these cases: Tool Sparashad v. Bureau of Prisons, 268 F3d 576, 585 (DC 2002) and Herron v. Harrison, 203 F3d 410-416 (6th Cir 2006) on matters concerning grievance and retaliation.

Teach as much as you know to others wanting and willing to learn, and keep on pushing comrade! Keep promoting use of the pen in legal warfare! Remember, winners never quit and quitters never win.

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[Download and Print] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [South Carolina]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, South Carolina

South Carolina Prisoner Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF of
South Carolina Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Officer of General Counsel
PO Box 21787
Columbia SC 29221-1787

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140


*PDF updated October 2017*
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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Download and Print] [Kansas]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Kansas

Kansas Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF of Kansas Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Secretary of Corrections
Landon State Office Building
900 Jackson, 4th Floor
Topeka, KS 66612

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140


*PDF updated October 2017*
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[Campaigns] [Smith State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Joins Grievance Campaign

Dear MIM and all my brothers and sisters bonded by the ink of our pens. We must continue to fight for United Struggle from Within.

I have just initiated my discovery phase in my civil suit against the Warden on this plantation and its incompetent medical staff. I'm located at a level 5 security here in Georgia and as I read ULK I see that we are all faced with this new and improved SHU system. Same game, different name.

I'm on the Tier 2 program, a step down program which is a 260-day program, and I've been here 13 months today because I was caught with 2 cell phones. I've experienced medical neglect, deliberate indifference and cruel and unusual punishment for being caught with contraband.

I encourage the use of the grievance system but we all know it is worthless. Every grievance is denied without due investigation. I personally started a petition against the grievance system here for the inmates in SHU/Tier 2 which I've sent to MIM(Prisons) and joined the grievance campaign in my state.

I wrote this for exposure and to encourage all the readers here in Georgia to petition against your grievance system.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We now have a grievance petition for the state of Georgia, thanks to this comrade's work. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of this petition to demand your grievances are addressed in Georgia.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [California]
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Beyond the 602: California Administrative Mandate Petitions

I would like to encourage any prisoner who is abused in any way that is clearly counter to the regulations and department operational manual (DOM) to consider that upon exhausting the administrative process or even when it's obstructed there is another lawful way to force the CDCR prisoncrats to act on your complaint.

It's not as simple as the administrative 602 process and if you lack serious determination to force the issue don't waste your time. But it's called "administrative mandate" petitions you can file in the court. Now you can obtain basic instructions by writing the Prison Law Office and asking for "information on filing an administrative mandate" and/or buy the California state prisoners handbook which will explain to you how to force prisoncrats to follow their own rules and regulations.(1)

There is always the law library, which is the most powerful resource in the system for a prisoner who does not allow themselves to be mentally worn down. The adversarial system is just that, and prisoncrats and the CCPOA don't care about you but as a means to a pay check. This is not to belittle but encourage you to pursue lawful action if you have exhausted administrative remedies. You can sue easily in small claims where you do not have to have much legal knowledge (think of Judge Judy/Joe Brown/Matis, etc.). That's the simplest way to sue. But make sure you line your ducks up!

More complex methods of suing are available also if you are willing to do the work required seriously, as in "limited jurisdiction" and "unlimited jurisdiction" in the state courts; in addition to your ability to file in the federal jurisdiction. This is not easy, it is time consuming and it can be costly to you.

I would also consider writing complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division special litigation section if you are serious. The opposition makes use of all of its resources, I suggest you too use all of the resources you have. I am not anybody's attorney and this is not legal advice, I am simply stating the obvious so people do not lose heart. In most cases the picklesuits and prisoncrats allow the abuse of those they don't expect to offer a real challenge.


Notes: Code Civil Procedures §1094.5 Administrative mandate is used to inquire into validity of administrative orders or decisions (see also Eureka Teachers Assn v. Board of Education (1988) 199 Cal. App. 3d 358. 366. Woods v. Superior Court (1981) 28 CAL 3d 668.675 etc.)

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[Download and Print] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [Texas]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Texas

Texas Petition
Click to Download PDF of Texas Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

TDCJ Legal Affairs
Attn: Leonard Peck
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville, TC 77342-0099

TDCJ - Office of the Inspector General
Investigations Department
P.O. Box 4003
Huntsville, TX 77342-4003

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

State Bar of Texas Grievance Commission
1414 Colorado
Austin, TX 78701-1627

ACLU of Texas
William Harrell, Executive Director
P.O. Box 3629
Austin, TX 78764-3629

Committee on Criminal Justice
Sen. John Whitmire
P.O. Box 12068
Capitol Station
Austin, TX 78711

Governor Rick Perry
1100 San Jacinto
Austin, TX 78701

Senator John Whitmore
Committee on Criminal Justice
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711

TX Civil Rights Project
Attn: Atty Scott Medlock
1405 Montopolis Dr.
Austin, TX 78741-3438

Brandi Grissom
Texas Tribune
823 Congress Ave., Suite 210
Austin, TX 78701

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*Petition updated September 2011, January 2012, July 2012, January 2013, October 2013, August 2014, and October 2017*

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Abuse] [United Struggle from Within] [Oregon]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Oregon

Oregon Grievance Petition
Click to download a PDF
of the Oregon grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC)
2575 Center Street
Salem, OR 97301

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*PDF updated May 2012, July 2012, July 2014, and October 2017*

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